U.S. planned to destroy Taepodong-2: Rumsfeld

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U.S. planned to destroy Taepodong-2: Rumsfeld


Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. [REUTERS/YONHAP]

The United States considered shooting down a Taepodong-2 ballistic missile North Korea test fired in 2006, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wrote in his recently released memoir, “Known and Unknown.”

Rumsfeld also said in his book that the George W. Bush administration hoped important North Korean officials would stage a coup against Kim Jong-il as a result of economic and diplomatic pressure from the U.S. and other countries.

Rumsfeld served as the U.S. defense chief from 2001 to 2006 in the Bush administration and commanded the U.S. war in Iraq. His 832-page memoir was released Tuesday.

In July 2006, the North tested the Taepodong-2, which experts said could reach as far as the western United States, from its Musudan-ri missile pad on the eastern coast of the country. The missile fell into North Korean territory 42 seconds after launch.

In the book, Rumsfeld said he discussed with Bush a plan to shoot the missile out of the sky if launched, and the two men even discussed who should make the final order, because it would have to be done very quickly after the missile’s launch. Rumsfeld wrote that the plan wasn’t carried out because the missile failed.

Rumsfeld also wrote that he saw little chance the North would give up its nuclear weapons as long as Kim Jong-il remains in power. He said he believed that negotiating with North Korea over its nuclear program was a “trophy” or reward for the North for its bad behavior and sent a letter with that message to the National Security Council in 2002.

Rumsfeld wrote that he doubted six-party talks on North Korea’s denuclearization would succeed because China, a participant in the talks, appeared more interested in blocking U.S. efforts to disarm Pyongyang out of fear that its communist ally would collapse. Rumsfeld wrote that he wanted economic and diplomatic pressure that would lead high-level North Korean officials to topple the regime.

That pressure, he claimed, started diminishing after his influence, and that of other Defense Department officials, weakened within the Bush administration. He said then-U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Christopher Hill, the former chief U.S. delegate to the six-party talks, stressed that the State Department, not the Defense Department, be in charge of North Korea issues.

By Kim Jung-wook, Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]

Related Korean Article [중앙선데이]

럼즈펠드 “북 압박해 김정일 체제 전복 노렸다”
회고록서 남북한 비화 언급

“2006년 7월 4일 독립기념일. 나는 불꽃놀이를 기대했다. 그러나 오후 2시30분 북한의 폭군에 의해 (불꽃놀이가) 이뤄질 줄은 몰랐다. 휴일 파티를 위해 아내와 메릴랜드주 체사피크만 다리를 향하던 중 북한이 장거리 미사일 대포동 2호를 발사했다는 전화 보고를 받았다….”

미국의 도널드 럼즈펠드(Donald Rums­feld·79·사진) 전 국방장관이 8일(현지시간) 발매된 회고록에 적은 2006년 북한의 장거리 미사일 ‘대포동 2호’ 발사 상황이다. 회고록 제목은 『알려진 것과 알려지지 않은 것(Known and Unknown)』. 회고록 중 남북한 관련 비화를 요약했다.

*“부시와 북 미사일 요격 과정 논의”=2006년 7월 군과 정보당국은 알래스카와 하와이가 북한 미사일의 사정거리 내에 있는 것이 거의 확실하다고 판단했다. 당시 미국은 즉각 발사할 수 있는 10개 이상의 요격 미사일을 보유하고 있었다. 문제는 누가 요격 명령을 내리느냐였다. 조지 W 부시 대통령과 나는 어떤 과정을 거쳐 요격 명령을 내릴 수 있는지 논의했다. …

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